“Two criminals were crucified with Christ.  One was saved; do not despair.  One was not; do not presume.” Saint Augustine

“The faith of many among us is, after all, but an attempt to believe; their repentance but an attempt to repent; and, in so doing, they only use words which they have learned from others. It is not the love of holiness that actuates them, but (at best) the love of the love of holiness.  It is not the love of God that fills them, but the love of the love of God…They try to live like sons in order to make themselves sons, forgetting God’s simple plan for attaining sonship…” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p46).

“…to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” (John 1:12 ESV).  Religion complicates things, the more rules it makes up and lays on its people puts its followers further away from true Christianity than ever.  GOD says, “Only believe.”

“…true…religion is intensely personal.  It does not consist in the mere attachment to certain doctrines and opinions which were held by Christians in past generations, still less does it consist in belonging to a party.  Rather it is something which must be experienced in one’s own soul” John Newton (ref#322, p10).

“The dark and dishonourable thoughts of God…belonging to a natural state, are very different from the thoughts of your heart concerning him.  You do not conceive of him as a hard master, or think you could be more happy in…the observance of his precepts.  You do not prefer the world to his favour, or think you can please him, and make amends for your sins by an obedience of your own. These and such as these, are the thoughts of the natural heart…” John Newton (ref#322, p168).

How do you feel about the requirement to keep the Ten Commandments?  Do you begrudge the “having to follow them?”  Do you realize that GOD in His love, gave us  the Ten Commandments because by keeping them they will do us good?  They are a gift from GOD to appreciate, not a list to keep to keep in His good favor.  Checking our hearts often is vital to keeping ourselves continually in the assurance of our salvation.

This is why for over two years the subject of the blog: “Prayer Affair,” has been “Assurance of Salvation.”  It is a matter of life and death—life forever with GOD or death forever away from the presence of GOD.



“This is the essence of the Christian life, that we might have the full knowledge of God and that we may know we have it” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p638).

“…there are certain tests by which, if we apply them to ourselves, we may know that we have this knowledge of God.  The first is our belief concerning the Lord Jesus Christ Himself” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p641).

“True faith in Christ and His righteousness arises from the ruins of self-sufficiency and the death of personal excellency” James Hervey (ref#333, p274).

“Jesus Christ is absolutely essential to me….I have come to see my own unworthiness, my sinfulness, and my smallness.  I have seen it deeply and can do nothing to save myself.  How can I face God?  I have but one hope, and that is that God sent His Son” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p641).

“This leads me to the second test.  If I believe all that, I must of necessity come to love God…if I believe in the love of Jesus Christ, I believe that God sent Him.  So I believe on Him and in the love of God” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p642).

“Then, thirdly…is the test of loving the brethren…men and women who are Christians will recognize other Christians…Love of the brethren is crucial!  These tests…if we apply them to ourselves we will know where we stand” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p643).

“…I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed…” (2 Tim 1:12 ESV).

“Every Christian is meant to have this certain knowledge of eternal life, this immediate fellowship and communion with God” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p639).

“I have the assurance…that if I have eternal life, I shall stand one day faultless and blameless, without spot and blemish, in the presence of God’s glory. So as I meet temptation and sin in this world, I realize that I am not left to myself.  I cease to feel helpless and frustrated.  I say, ‘If God is in me, if God has destined me for that, then He will come and hold me through all hell and the devils be opposed to me’” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p654).

Certainly the above quote portrays the necessity of knowing we have eternal life.  Otherwise we will never recognize we can lean entirely on GOD to help us through the catastrophes of life.



“O soul, of all the false signs of grace, none more dangerous than those that most resemble true ones, and never doth the devil more surely destroy than when transformed into an angel of light” John Flavel (ref#333, p211).

The matter of life after earthly death is not only the most important subject to embrace but we must be aware that the temporary ruler of the earth will do everything in his power to keep us from fellowship with the eternal Ruler of all.  We need to continually check our spirit to see if we are walking with the eternal Spirit.


Can I tell my actions are becoming more like CHRIST?

“…there is no legitimate separation between belief and behavior.  Thus, those who profess faith but do not demonstrate any progress in godliness should question their spiritual state” (The ESV Study Bible, ref#125, p2322)


Are you saved by feeling you are, or by believing you are?

“…the New Testament does not insist upon feeling.  It says, do you believe; are you prepared to venture your all upon this?  So it is sufficient for you to say, ‘I live by this; whether I feel or whether I do not does not matter; we are not saved by feeling but by believing’” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, ref#332, p649).


Does the Bible influence you to change your ways?

“If there is one fact, or doctrine, or promise in the Bible, which has produced no practical effect upon your temper or conduct, be assured that you do not truly believe it” (Edward Payson, ref#333, p327).


Does thoughts of your salvation give you peace?

“Is not the doctrine of the assurance of salvation a most comfortable doctrine?…except a man be persuaded of the favour of God, and the forgiveness of sins, and consequently of his salvation, what comfort can he have in anything” (Arthur Dent, ref#333, p109)?


Will I persevere?—failure to do so proves I am not converted.

“…If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him…” (2 Tim 2:11-12 ESV).


Am I looking forward to living forever with JESUS?

“Those who have eternal life want more of it” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, ref#332, p643).


“…men without Christ are guiltily ignorant of God, perverse more or less in their thoughts of Him, self-idolizers even in their outward worship of Him, and strangers to His friendship” (J.I. Packer, ref#312, p61).



“…believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13 ESV).

“…someone may say, ‘You exhort us to believe that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God.  Why should we?  On what grounds?’  The first answer is, the nature of the evidence.…there is objective, external evidence provided for us….We have the evidence from the baptism, the evidence of the death on the cross and the Day of Pentecost, and the subsequent evidence of the events of the Church…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p632).

“This is not a philosophy. This is not something that man thinks….the reason for believing this message is that it is the witness and testimony of God Himself” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p632).

“…in addition to the external evidence there is also the subjective or internal evidence…the Holy Spirit…gives…internal certitude” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p633).

“God assures us of our sonship not by some unusual gift or some peculiar sign but by the quiet, persuasive witness of His Spirit as we talk to Him and walk with Him.” Alistar Begg

 “’He that believeth on the Son of God…’ Such a person has abandoned himself to Him.  He has surrendered to Him….I am under the wrath of God.  I am a doomed, guilty, foul sinner, and there He is—the one who can deliver me.  So I cast myself upon Him…you can only believe on the Son of God on your knees. You may not realize the full implications of the statement, but you hand over your whole life into the strong arms of the Son of God” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p635).

“…first I must believe because God is the witness; and if I do, then I shall have the witness of the Spirit within myself” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p635).



“May God give us grace that we may not make a mistake in learning…of godliness…We should learn early the difference between grace and merit, between the purpose of God and the will of man, between trust in God and confidence in the flesh” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p78).

“The gospel does not command us to do anything in order to obtain life, but bids us live by that which another has done; and the knowledge of its life-giving truth is not labour but rest—rest of soul—rest which is the root of all true labour; for in receiving Christ we do not work, in order to rest, but we rest in order to work.  In believing, we cease to work for pardon, in order that we may work from it…” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p25).

“…commands…will no longer come to you as a law standing outside and against you, but as the living power which has transformed your will into perfect harmony with all your Lord requires” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p157).

To become a Christian it takes nothing but complete submission—letting GOD take over our life.  It is doing nothing—throwing away all our good works, or bad works—throwing away all our “doing.” We must resign ourselves to letting GOD do what He wants with us.  Remain contrite before Him and He will instantly change us into new people who will do all that He wishes we do.  The moment His commands become the slightest burdensome it is because we have put ourselves back in rule of ourselves and ceased to submit completely to Him.

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us…” (1 John 4:10 ESV).

“The gospel is the proclamation of free love; the revelation of the boundless charity of God.  Nothing less than this will suit our world; nothing else is so likely to touch the heart, to go down to the lowest depths of depraved humanity, as the assurance that the sinner has been loved…” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p36-37).

“…we are in the Lord vitally and certainly when we come to the Lord Jesus by repentance and faith and make Him our refuge and hiding place” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p79).

“If you now feel your need of a Savior, that is the beginning of the new nature” Charles Spurgeon (ref#320, p32).

“The plan of salvation is simple.  Trust Christ, and you are saved. Rely upon Him, and you will live.  This faith is the gift of God, but remember…God does not believe for you; the Holy Spirit does not believe for you; you must believe, or else you will be lost” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p39).



“The man from whom the old life has gone out, and into whom the new life has come, is still the same individual.  The same being that was once ‘under law’ is not ‘under grace.’  His features and limbs are still the same; his intellect, imagination, capacities, and responsibilities are still the same” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p9).

“…one who is ‘risen with Christ’ ought to be like the Risen One.  He will be expected to be meek and lowly, gentle and loving, simple and frank, kind and obliging, liberal and generous, not easily provoked or affronted, transparent and honest, not selfish, narrow, covetous, conceited, worldly, unwilling to be taught” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p77).

“Let love be genuine.  Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.  Love one another with brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor.  Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.  Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.  Never be wise in your own sight.  Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God…’if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:9-21 ESV).



“The New Testament says that when we receive the gift of eternal life a new man comes into us, so that we are now two men, and the two are different and contrary—the spirit and the flesh—and there is a struggle and a conflict.  Now those who are aware of that, who though they sin and fail are aware of the fact that there are these two men in them, that there is a struggle between the two—these people have given proof positive that they have received the gift of eternal life” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p651).

However, don’t be too fast to assume you have eternal life if you have conflicts within.  The natural man has conflicts with himself. These struggles are not “spiritual struggles.”

“There is no spiritual struggle in the life of unbelievers.  There may be a moral struggle, there may be a struggle to live up to a certain code that they have set up, they may struggle to do certain things and if they do not achieve them they are ashamed of themselves…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p651).

This caution is particularly applied to us who have grown up in the church.  For we see a moral standard in the ones we worship with and can assume it is accomplished by purely human effort.  And so with only our natural man we strive to live morally—and struggle within ourselves if we don’t.  A “spiritual struggle” is defined in the next paragraph.

“If you feel that you are empty, if you feel you are nothing, if you feel you are poor and wretched and blind, if you hate your inclination to sin and have any suspicion of a feeling of self-loathing and hatred…you have eternal life” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p653).

Let us check our spirits; let us compare a “moral struggle” with a “spiritual struggle” by rereading the above paragraphs.  If you feel you are living life in a “moral struggle” then pay close attention to the next paragraph.

“Tell God that you are not certain, that you do not know, and that you desire that knowledge above all else.  And ask Him, by His Holy Spirit, to enable you to see your true helplessness, and ask Him to give you the gift.  I assure you that if you do, He will not reject you, because He has said, ‘Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out’ (John 6:37).  If you have not possessed this, ask Him, believing His own promise, and I assure you that He will answer your prayer.  He will give you the gift, and you will know you have eternal life” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p644).



“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore”(Ps 16:11 ESV).

“The exercises of religion…do yield the highest pleasure and delight to souls possessed with divine love…they have placed themselves in the presence of God…they delight to adore his perfections and recount his favours…and tell him a thousand times that they love him, to lay their troubles or wants before him, and disburden their hearts in his bosom” Henry Scougal (ref#321, p79-80).

 “…the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh 8:10 ESV).

“…to feel a liberty of pouring out our hearts before the Lord, to behold some glances of his goodness passing before us…by beholding his glory, to be conformed more and more to his image, and to renew our strength by drawing water out of the wells of salvation—herein is blessedness” John Newton (ref#322, p150).

“For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy” (Ps 92:4 ESV).

“…we may rejoice in his all-sufficiency as our own…in consequences of this, a peaceful, humble submission to his will, under all events which, upon their first impression, are contrary to our own views and desires” John Newton (ref#322, p151).

 “Do you not know this from of old, since man was placed on earth, that the exulting of the wicked is short, and the joy of the godless but for a moment” (Job 20:4-5 ESV).

“…your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts” (Jer 15:16 ESV).

“Though you have not seen him, you love him.  Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,” (1 Peter 1:8 ESV).



“…people who are truly Christians are those who overcome the world.  They rise above it; they conquer it.  They are in the world, but no longer of it….They may fall into sin, but they do not dally in it…They have been delivered out of this evil world, having been translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p643).

“ “…Christians…view the world in an entirely new manner.  They see that it is governed by sin.  They have come to regard it as a place in which evil forces are at work…They know that it is something they have to fight, something to withstand, and they realize that unless they do so they will be defeated by it” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p642).

“If a Christian have Christ’s heart…He will give him…His power to help him to overcome the strong enemies that meet him in the way…” Andrew Gray (ref#333 p223).

“We are bound to rejoice in God, and that always, even in tribulation; which no understanding can conceive to be possible, unless the soul be assured of life eternal” Edward Leigh (ref#333, p174).

“Our faith is not true unless it enables us to appear calmly in the presence of God” John Calvin (ref#333, p89).

“The only thing we have really to be afraid of, is fearing anything more than God” Gregory of Nazianzum (ref#333, p24).

“It is a fearful thing to come to a deathbed with a religion so feeble as to leave the poor soul in dreadful doubt as to its state” John Angell (ref#333, p335).



“When I am born again the Spirit of God takes me right out of myself and my experiences, and identifies me with Jesus Christ” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Dec 21st).

“That grace which is but a persuasive offer and in our power to receive or refuse is not the grace which brings us to heaven.  But God’s people feel a powerful work of the Spirit, not only revealing to us our misery and deliverance through Christ, but emptying us of ourselves, as being redeemed from ourselves, and infusing new life into us, and afterwards strengthening us and quickening us…never leaving us till the conquest is perfect” Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p117).

“This new being…is no outer thing, made up of showy moralities and benevolences…It is something deeper, and truer…It’s affinities are with the things above; its sympathies are divine; it sides with God in everything…The new man…produces righteousness and holiness through the power of the Holy Ghost…It is…a new standing or state, a new moral character, a new life, a new joy, a new work, a new hope…” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, p10-11).

“Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:15-16 ESV).

“…true Biblical holiness…that which must be based firmly on a personal experience of the saving work of Christ on the cross, and maintained through the work of the Holy Spirit living in the individual believer…is not simply a matter of outward observance but is rather the whole Christian life, and finds practical expression in every area of day-to-day living” Horatius Bonar (ref#326, back cover).

NOTE: This changed life may not immediately produce all that is mentioned above.  This new life is a “progressive sanctification…a process of change…a way of ongoing transformation, not yet perfect, still failing, but always growing in faith and obedience” Paul David Tripp (ref#5, p340).

“Salvation is unfolded throughout our entire sojourn here.  We continue to repent and to believe, and even the process of our salvation continues as we are changed more and more into the image of our Lord” Charles Spurgeon (ref#330, p88-89).